August 15th is International Relaxation Day. This day was founded in 1985. It is a reminder to pause and relax. Too much stress makes our bodies and minds sick which is why taking care of ourselves and slowing down regularly should be a top priority.
2020 has been a year of change. Covid-19 has had different consequences for all of us. For some it means working from home and maybe feeling a tad lonely. For others it means spending a lot more time with our family or the people we live with and having a lot less “me time” than usually. And then some of us lost their job and have had to hustle. Furthermore we have seen a long needed cry out to end racism, meaning a lot of us have been engaged in protesting and fighting the existing structures. Whatever your specific circumstances have been these past few months, I believe we all need some relaxation right now. Relaxation and meditation have got some great health benefits for you like slowing down your heart rate and boosting the immune system.
I have put together a list of things/activities you can do to rest, relax and recharge, hope you enjoy.
Connect to your breath
Find a comfortable seat or lay down on your back (to make it more relaxing you can place a pillow under your knees if on your back).
· Close your eyes gently.
· Feel where your body is touching the mat (feel your body sinking deeper into the surface with every exhalation).
· Shift your focus to your breath and visualise watching yourself breathe from an external perspective.
· Ask yourself the following questions: Where in my body do I breathe? What is the ratio of inhale to exhale? Am I using my full capacity? How does the air feel going in and out of my body?
· Slowly start to make the exhalation longer than the inhalation, this will calm your nervous system.
· Find a good rhythm (inhale – hold at the top for a moment – exhale slowly – hold breath at the bottom for a moment – repeat).
· Relax and feel the bliss.
For more relaxing practises you can do at home by yourself have a look at my Youtube Channel. I especially recommend watching my XMAS Lazy Yin Yoga. Which brings us to the next point.
Whether you are a regular in my classes or practice yoga sometimes or have always wanted to give it a try yoga is proven to help to unwind and reduce stress and anxiety.
With it’s unique combination of breath work, meditation and physical practise it strengthens as well as loosens your muscles, calms down the nervous system (see breathing exercise above) and stops your mind from wandering by connecting you to the present moment.
Slow movement also helps to reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body and stimulates the release of endorphins, the “happy hormone”.
Yin-yang yoga is especially slow and soothing. Holding the asana (pose) for a longer amount of time (between 3 to 5 minutes), allows your body to surrender and reach the connective tissue.
If you would like to experience this yourself, don’t miss my Clothes Optional Online “Live” Yin-Yang Yoga Class here, which is also suitable for beginners.
Go for a walk in nature
Even just looking at a picture of trees has a relaxing effect on humans. So imagine the benefits a walk outdoors in nature provides. Even if you live in a big city there is always a little park nearby. Put on your trainers and go for a little walk to move your tight muscles after a long day at work and clean out your head. Once you are surrounded by nature stop, close your eyes and heighten your senses.
· Listen to the sound of nature around you – Can you hear birds chirping? Or the waves breaking?
· Soak in the smells around you – Can you smell the roses next to you or freshly cut grass or maybe the saltiness of the sea?
· Pay attention to your skin – Can you feel the sun warming your skin? Or do you have goosebumps from the cool breeze? Or maybe can you feel the ground under your bare feet?
Soak in all of the goodness and take the feeling of groundedness home with you.
These are just a few ideas of how to enjoy your International Relaxation Day 2020, I’m sure that you will find many more ways to celebrate this break from your busy every day life. Make sure to connect deeper with yourself and your body by booking my Clothes Optional Online “Live” Classes